The latest one began late last week, when Mr. Obst fell ill. Once that happened, people who had been in contact with him went into quarantine and contact tracing measures were employed, according to a senior administration official. But during that period, two other top aides to Mr. Pence tested positive for the virus. Officials in the vice president’s office did not make it public at the time.
Then on Saturday, both Mr. Short and Zach Bauer, Mr. Pence’s personal aide, tested positive, two senior administration officials said. Two officials familiar with the events said Mr. Short wanted White House doctors to issue a statement about his diagnosis, adding that Mr. Pence had tested negative.
But Mr. Meadows did not want the information becoming public on Saturday, the officials said. He pressed the White House medical office not to release a statement, and urged the vice president’s staff not to publicly reveal the diagnoses, the officials said. Several people said they believed Mr. Meadows was trying to keep the situation from becoming public so close to Election Day. Mr. Meadows has indicated to people that he was doing what the president wanted.
A senior administration official said that Mr. Meadows was not trying to prevent the outbreak from becoming public, but instead that he thought the White House medical office should not issue the statement and wanted the vice president’s office to engage in contact tracing before putting out a statement. After the Rose Garden ceremony last month, the White House made little effort to track the spread of the virus.
Across the White House complex, there was a mixture of anxiety about what the outbreak means for the election, and intense frustration with Mr. Short, who has been among the leaders in the administration in arguing the risks of the virus have been overblown.
Mr. Short has also played down the value of mask wearing, administration officials said. Mr. Short was expected to stay home for at least 10 days.
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